NDS has greatly expanded access to healthy meals with the introduction of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) at the start of this school year. For 17,256 students at 60 schools sponsored by NDS, breakfast and lunch are provided at no cost at school each day. We now have data to quantify the impact of CEP on participation in school meals.
Based on the results of the CEP pilot program conducted in several states, we anticipated that breakfast and lunch participation would increase in our CEP schools. To assess this impact, we compared the number of meals claimed in September 2014 to last September’s numbers. We found that we served 30% more breakfasts and 21% more lunches this year!
CEP has had an especially profound impact on breakfast. Ten more schools served breakfast in September 2014 than in September 2013, and four additional schools started their breakfast programs this October and November. As a result, many more students are beginning their day ready to learn after a nutritious breakfast.
We are proud to have reached so many students with this new initiative. Our goal is to continue adding schools in upcoming school years to the Community Eligibility Provision to further expand access to healthy meals at no cost.